Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil About 220 miles off the coast of Brazil, Baia do Sancho is regularly considered the best beach in the world. Playa Paraíso, which stretches along a small island just off the south coast of Cuba, is likely to still look a lot like it did in 1494, when Christopher Columbus sailed to Key Largo on his second expedition to the New World. Its sifted flour sand and crystal clear waters remain pristine, while nearby reefs offer some of the best diving spots in the Caribbean. Warm, calm waters make the beach ideal for paddlers and swimmers, while wildlife lovers should keep their eyes peeled for iguanas and giant sea turtles.
However, shade can be difficult to find, and naturists head to the east end of the beach, so stay west if you prefer to keep things covered. A busy day in Uig is when two people show up at the same time. Located about 20 miles west of Stornoway, on the Atlantic coast of Lewis, it is a large and spectacular beach, guarded by dunes and brown mountains. The beach itself is famous for being the place where a set of Viking chess pieces — dating back to the 12th century and made from walrus tooth shells — were unearthed, but it has much more to offer than just its history.
The surrounding Machair flower meadows sprout in June and their huge, uninterrupted stretches of sand are a playground for kitesurching enthusiasts. Check in to the 19th century farmhouse at Lewis Castle. In the warmer months, Europe's highest sand dune, just an hour's drive from Bordeaux, is covered by a constant, shimmering heat mist, giving the illusion that this extensive French beach is dotted with sparkling treasures. The sand here, which forms peaks up to 300 feet high, is as finely ground as fresh flour, perfect for rolling sausages up the Atlantic coast and stopping to gaze at the pine forests behind the beach.
Arcachon Bay surrounds miles of beaches ready to explore, and you'll find a jumble of cabins nearby where fishermen set tables to sell oysters, pate and prawns. Book a night at Les Sources de Caudalie, an elegant country retreat. With a cluttered coastline of 37,000 miles (the second longest in the world), Indonesia has an excess of beautiful beaches. One of its best is Ora, nestled on the north shore of the sparsely populated island of Seram.
The area is known as the Little Maldives of Indonesia due to its agate seas and white sugar beaches, but the island still retains some wild nature. Seram is nestled in the middle of several tectonic plates, which means that the surrounding landscape varies cinematically, from lush rainforest dotted with birds to ogre-shaped mountains. Don't be surprised to see the southern right whale wallowing on the coast in Die Plaat, a rugged and beautiful strip of sand bordered by limestone rock outcrops near Hermanus, the whale capital of South Africa. Chubby seals stay behind on the rocky coast here, and you'll find the ground filled with huge pearlescent abalone shells.
There is also history to be courted on these windswept sands; the beach is home to Klipgat Cave, a cavern full of bats where people from the late Middle Stone Age lived until 85,000 years ago (keep your eyes peeled, you can even see ancient tools on the ground). Stay at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, a 6,177 acre lodge. With its collection of easily accessible white and pink sand beaches, Fakarava, one of the largest atolls in French Polynesia, is one of the best snorkeling spots in the world, with constant warm waters. While the sea is a safe haven for rare fish, fluorescent corals and shark “walls” passing near the coast, the pristine beaches are reputed to inspire the Matisse blue period.
The artist spent three months in nearby Tahiti in 1930, and was captivated by the endless blues of the lagoons. Located in Fernando de Noronha, an archipelago of volcanic islands between Brazil and Africa, Praia do Sancho is consistently voted one of the best beaches in the world. It's also one of the most difficult to access. Flights from mainland Brazil take about an hour, then you have to walk, glide through narrow rock tunnels and descend steep steps to reach the golden, palm-fringed sands.
You have to pay an environmental tax to enter, since the area is a National Park (head to the park offices, a 15-minute drive), but once there, its deserted coast, gigantic iguanas and shallow waters dotted with fish are worth a sweat. Jump into the crystal clear waters of Turquoise Bay and swim just a few meters from the pristine Ningaloo Reef, a World Heritage Site that is home to the largest congregation of whale sharks on the planet. A 40-mile drive from Exmouth, on Australia's western coast, it's a beach of dazzling white sands and impeccable diving. You'll descend to see rainbow corals, peaceful turtles and more than 500 species of fish.
This popular family beach borders the wild-filled Manuel Antonio National Park, where three-toed sloths and white-faced capuchin monkeys emerge from the coastal rainforest to the delight of little bathers. It's a 30-minute walk from the park entrance (keep your eyes peeled to see if the howler monkeys crash into the canopy), but once there you'll find soft sands, great swimming, and honey-hued sunsets. Book a room in Arenas del Mar, spread over 11 lush acres of nature reserve. Set against a backdrop of saffron-colored cliffs and bathed by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, this rugged beach is one of the most photogenic in the Southern Hemisphere.
Check out the blue waters like robin's egg and you might see the snouts of rare skinned dolphins breaking the surface, and then return to the old lighthouse tower to see ospreys nesting in the frame. When the tide is at its lowest point, some 125-million-year-old dinosaur footprints are revealed, which are impeccably preserved in the amber reef rock. Located on the edge of Namib-Naukluft National Park, the oldest desert on the planet, and a 15-minute drive from the coastal center of Walvis Bay. The primitive Dolfynstrand is not a place of gentle waves and sand between your toes, but rather there are spooky shipwrecks scattered across the sand and a stinking colony of seals asleep on the coast.
But given its remote location in one of the world's most sparsely populated countries, beach lovers are unlikely to have to fight for space. Located in Penghu County, between the remote western islands of Taiwan, Jibei is an almost unspoiled place, beyond the reach of most travelers to the city. Getting here involves taking a boat from the North Sea Resort to the main part of the island, where there are plenty of water sports, umbrellas and wooden cabins for the night. But what's really special is the secluded, often deserted sand, a 15-minute walk away.
There are no man-made intrusions here, only the murmur of the ocean and a mile of sand without stepping on. Perhaps one of the strongest contenders in the region with the best beaches in the world, Portugal has many stunning beaches that you should visit at some point. Whitehaven Beach is protected by the Whitsunday Islands National Park and is located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. From the most exquisite beaches in Europe to extensive stretches of Asia, Africa and more, these are the best beaches in the world.
Sandy beaches are outnumbered by pebble beaches in Croatia, but the car-free island of Lopud, a 40-minute ferry ride from Dubrovnik, is the exception. The main beach inside the bay is about 200 m (650 ft) long and features silky white sand, with colorful underwater corals and exotic fish in exceptionally clear waters. Brittany Ferries has two-bedroom cottages from £955 (July 9-August 19), including ferry crossing at Brittany's top 10 beach hotels and places to stay. From coral to sand and long to closed, it should come as no surprise that most of these beaches are located in the best beach destinations in the world.
Possibly one of the most photogenic spots in the world, Anse Source d'Argent on La Digue is Bounty's original advertising beach, covered with pure white sand and covered with granite rocks. Puerto Ayora, the largest and most populous city in the Galapagos, is a pretty charming spot, but it's also just a 20-minute walk from Tortuga Bay, one of the best beaches in the world. There are two restaurants, where sun loungers and umbrellas are rented, and a variety of activities, from beach volleyball to tennis. Imagine a beach holiday and Finland isn't the first country I can think of, but this Nordic country is home to one of the best stretches of sand in northern Europe.
You'll find many beautiful beaches in Granada, but Grand Anse, quiet and protected, is one of the best. If peace of mind is a must, you can consider changing the beaches listed below to one of the most beautiful (semi) private hotel beaches in the world or opt for a stay at one of the most exclusive private island resorts in the world. The Caribbean Journal also included the Turks and Caicos Islands in a list of the “Best Caribbean Islands for Sailing, Sailing and Sailing” and, not surprisingly, a list of the “50 Best Beaches in the Caribbean”. There are other beaches to explore close by, besides the famous Inverewe Gardens, but the real pleasure is playing on the beach or fishing from the rocks on both sides.
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